There are places for nature lovers and there are holy places for devotees. But you don’t find the combination of these two easily. Barabanka, in Dhenkanal District of Odisha State, is one such place, where you find the combination of these two, a Holy Shrine amid natural beauty.
This is where Lodheshwar Mahadev Mandir is located, Lodheshwar Mahadev Mandir is Lord Shiva’s temple. The Shivaling worshipped here is one of the rare 52 Shivalingas found in the Shakti Peetha’s Across India. This ancient temple has been mentioned in the Mahabharat many times. In many Hindu scriptures and holy books, its significance has been stated. This shakti peetha is considered one of the holiest places on the ear. It is said that the temple is constructed in 1246.
If you observe the path to the temple it resembles a serpent, full of turns. The path to the Shrine is through Hills and jungles, you find the path fully covered with thick greenery. The shrine is located at an altitude of 2,239 feet, from the sea level and can be reached either by foot or by vehicle, If you choose to go by walk you have to climb 1,352 steps. To reach the shrine of Lord shiva one has to travel 5 kilometres on ‘Barabanka’ Road starting at the foot of Kapila Hills.
The journey through this road will remind you of hill stations like Ooty, Shimla etc. This place gets its name because of the many turns that it has, ‘Bara’ and ‘Banka’ meaning 12 and turns. This place can truly be called as Jewel of Dhenkanal District, because of its many significances.
You will not know how fast time has lapsed when you travel through the 5 K.M stretches, with 12 curves. You will feel as if you have stepped into another world, with green forests on both sides, sheltering colourful birds. The road between curve number 7 & 9 has been widened so that tourists can stop there and enjoy natures beauty, nowadays it is popularly known as Selfie point.
One will find a huge banyan tree at curve number 10, which adds to the beauty of the place and gives it completeness, you can rest in this place for a while and capture the scenic beauty of this place forever in your heart. During the ‘Jagar Festival‘ and ‘Shiva Chaturdasi’ seasons, Barabanka witnesses enormous traffic of people. The proposal for the illumination of the entire stretch of road has been approved and work will likely commence soon.